KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Alex Azar, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex AzarAlex M. Azar II was sworn in as the Secretary of Health and Human Services on Jan. 29, 2018. Azar has spent his career working in both the public and private sectors, as an attorney and in senior leadership roles focused on advancing healthcare reform, research and innovation.

From 2001 to 2007, Azar served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – first as its General Counsel (2001–2005) and then as Deputy Secretary. During his time as Deputy Secretary, Azar was involved in improving the department’s operations; advancing its emergency preparedness and response capabilities as well as its global health affairs activities; and helping oversee the rollout of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

In 2007, Azar rejoined the private sector as senior vice president for corporate affairs and communications at Eli Lilly and Co. From 2012 to 2017, he served as president of Lilly USA LLC, the company’s largest affiliate.

Azar clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia prior to practicing law for several years.

Azar graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from Dartmouth College and earned his law degree from Yale University.

For the past 10 years, Azar has lived in Indiana with his wife and their two children.

Amy Walter, National Editor of the Cook Political Report

Amy Walter, National Editor of the Cook Political ReportOver the past 19 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the national editor of the Cook Political Report and the former political director of ABC News. From 1997–2007, Walter served as senior editor of the Cook Political Report. She is also a regular panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier, and CBS' Face the Nation. She provides political analysis every Monday evening for the PBS NewsHour.

In her presentations, Walter expertly breaks down the electoral process, congressional culture, and the Washington political scene. Her astuteness, wit, and range of expertise create an engaging, compelling presentation, and her reliable and accurate analysis has earned her numerous accolades. Amy Walter takes audiences on an insider’s tour of Washington through the eyes of the woman with her finger on the pulse of politics.

Political History.While at ABC, Walter oversaw the organization’s political coverage – including the daily political tip sheet The Note, guided the editorial content of all political news, and provided on air analysis. She co-hosted 2012 election night coverage for the Yahoo!-ABC News Network with Good Morning America weekend anchor Dan Harris. She and Harris also anchored the live-streamed coverage for the presidential and vice presidential debates. Before ABC, she was the editor-in-chief of The Hotline, Washington’s premier daily briefing on American politics. There she served as the political publication’s primary voice for three years, and she provided regular analysis of the national political environment in her weekly National Journal column, On the Trail.

Walter has provided election night coverage and analysis since 1998 and was a member of CNN’s Emmy-award winning election night team in 2006. She has also been a regular contributor to PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and has provided political analysis on virtually every major political program on television.

Accolades and Education. Named one of the “Top 50 Journalists” by Washingtonian magazine, Walter was dubbed one of the most powerful people in politics in George magazine for her insights into the mechanics that make the political machine run. She also won the Washington Post’s Crystal Ball Award for her spot-on election predictions and has been frequently quoted as a congressional election expert in newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the New York Times. Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, said, “Today, her work is trusted and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike. She knows how to get beyond bluster and spin to unearth – and explain – what really matters in a political arena. And, she has a proven track record of success, which is essential for those whose jobs depend on accurate political forecasting.”

Walter graduated summa cum laude from Colby College, and was also honored by her alma mater her with an honorary PhD. She serves as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

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